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The spectacular alkaline Lake Manyara forms the centre point of this small and very beautiful park with surprisingly diverse fauna and flora. A circuit drive through the park passes through forest, wetlands, grassy plains and acacia forests, offering views of different animals and multitudes of birds. Elephant, hippo, giraffe, tree-climbing lion and baboon are just a few of the game that call Manyara home.
Two of the better-known lakes in the Great Rift Valley in Kenya, Lake Nakuru and Lake Naivasha are within easy reach of the capital, Nairobi. Each offers a distinctive safari experience and are often included in a Kenyan safari.
Lower Zambezi National Park is found in a vast valley created by a huge rift in the Earth’s crust, through which the mighty Zambezi River flows. The mineral-rich deposits from ancient volcanoes deposited here over millennia have created a lush, tropical paradise for a large assortment of vegetation and wildlife, mirrored on its opposite banks by Mana Pools National Park, Zimbabwe.
It's said that you won't find a greater abundance of game anywhere in Africa, as you will in the Maasai Mara. Apart from the Big 5, you're likely to see a bigger variety of wildlife in larger numbers; like the annual wildebeest migration, involving over 1.5 million animals.
Madikwe is one of South Africa's popular Big 5 safari destinations for those looking for a malaria-free safari. It's especially family friendly as there's no need for malarial prophylactics. Most lodges in Madikwe Game Reserve welcome children and offer specially designed child-friendly programmes to keep the little ones busy and to help them really enjoy their safari experience, too.
The Mahale Mountains National Park is situated on the eastern shores of Lake Tanganyika in remote western Tanzania. It's spectacularly beautiful, with the backdrop of the Mahale Mountains and lush, tropical flora. The main attraction is walking safaris to observe the chimpanzees who live here. They share their forest paradise with a range of other primates, mammals and beautiful birds.
Mana Pools in northern Zimbabwe is one of the few wilderness areas where it's possible to explore on foot (either guided or on your own) or by canoe. Roads are few and far between so game driving is by 4x4. It's a pristine, unspoilt paradise, with abundant game, spectacular scenery and an incredible variety of birds.
Matusadona National Park, located in the heart of Zimbabwe's Zambezi Valley on the shores of Lake Kariba, offers some of the country's most rewarding game viewing opportunities and is often best explored on foot. Walking safaris are the perfect way to investigate the ruggedness of Matusadona's wilderness which ranges from shoreline grassland and mopane woodland to mountain acacia woodland on the escarpment.
Although Meru National Park was made famous by Joy Adamson's "Born Free" books, it remains largely undiscovered and untamed. With its rugged jungle, rivers, swamps and grasslands, game viewing opportunities are excellent. Neglected on safari bucket lists for years, it has been restored to its former glory while evading the hordes of safari visitors.
The Moremi Game Reserve is one of Botswana's best wildlife destinations. The lodges in the Moremi Game Reserve typically offer a combination of 4x4 game drives and boat trips on the waterways of the Okavango Delta. Moremi is a Big Five reserve, although currently only Chief's Island, deep in the Delta, has rhino following a successful rhino reintroduction programme. In other parts of Moremi, you can expect to see elephant, buffalo, lion and possibly leopard and wild dog as well. Cheetah are rare but they have been sighted here. General game includes giraffe, zebra, wildebeest, kudu, lechwe, puku, hartebeest, sable antelope, impala, waterbuck, baboon and monkey, warthog, hippo and crocodile.
Mpumalanga Province lies to the east of Johannesburg and includes the eastern part of the Highveld, the scenic escarpment and Drakensberg mountains, and the warmer Lowveld region to the east, stretching to the border of Mozambique. Mpumalanga is one of South Africa's most beautiful and most visited provinces. It is home to the Kruger National Park, the Sabi Sand Game Reserve, as well as the scenic Panorama Route with its spectacular views and waterfalls.
Nairobi is usually your gateway into Kenya. While most safari visitors spend one night in the city on their way to or from their wildlife experience, Nairobi has great lodges and unique boutique hotels. The city is bursting with life with informal Maasai Markets lining the streets selling handmade arts and crafts to local tailors who can finish a beautifully made, bargain-friendly safari suit in 24 hours. Nairobi National Park with its dense concentration of black rhino is no more than 7 km from Nairobi's city centre.